Words: A Powerful Medium
By Prisha Budhiraja
Class 10 Student, New Delhi
Foreword by Venkat
The milk was poured, and so beamed the eyes of the cat. Smacking its wafer lips, the cat drooled over its impatient dish. Then came a rat, and so rolled its dreamy eyes re-evaluating its current investment over a quicker dividend. Much like the smart cat 🙂 we all are driven by two things. Needs and desires. From these sprout our reasons, beliefs, motives and actions. If they are practical in the context or fruitful in their endeavor demands a separate discussion. It must be fairly clear that the ultimate ‘genes’ behind the pleasant (or unpleasant) external manifestation of the reasons in words, motives in thought and actions in behavior are those set of needs and desires. But we tend to forget them and interpret people by what we receive of them, in sensory perception alone. Prisha, in her logical narrative sets to inquire into nature of our reactions to others and the ‘collateral damage’ caused by the wrong use of words in speech. Her personal incident and experience serve to elaborate on the nature of the matter. She guides the argument well on why words are important and on the construct related to differing views. So it is apparent that words spoken must be in intention, conduits to understand the person who spoke them and not demons to shoot our emotions on.
Reflect on the nature of human relationships, arguments and words in this well thought article by young Prisha.
I’m a 15 year old girl with a passion for writing. As someone who’s still a student of life, I love writing about the various issues people face, once I’ve faced them myself and learnt to deal with them. On my website, you can be sure to find reliable advice, since everything I post is from experience and is well tried-and-tested. And if you haven’t already, check out my website! – https://thecrownedempath.wordpress.com/
I like singing, baking, reading, writing and spending time with friends and family. I aspire to one day publish fiction novels or own a successful blog.
Words: A Powerful Medium
Many a times we react to various life situations based on how we’re feeling. Oftentimes, we let our emotions cloud our better judgement and let them influence our decisions. We may have had a bad day or be upset about one thing, and may let the frustration or anger caused by it affect another completely unrelated situation.
It may feel liberating to let out everything you’re feeling by lashing out at a person or just refusing to see things from their perspective, even though they did nothing to upset you in the first place. In our defense, we think, “Hey, what about my feelings?” Later on, we often regret what we might have said or done in that moment. You might even realize that it is so out of character for you act the way that you did. But the real reason for it is that sometimes, we just react to situations in the heat of the moment. We don’t even stop to think, let alone realize, what impact our words and actions could be having on the other person.
Similar is what happened with me a couple days ago. Around late-evening, I was telling my friend about something rather important, and she kept interrupting with her own comments and similar stories, saying things like “It’s not that big of an issue”. She was doing it all in good fun, as we joke around all the time, even in the middle of serious conversations to keep the environment light. The difference was, this time we were texting.
It is impossible to understand what the other person means via text since you don’t get to read the other person’s facial expressions and tone of voice. I got offended that she wasn’t paying attention and told her she was being rude. Now, to her, she was just joking around and didn’t mean any of it. She felt that it was all fun and games while I was joking, but when she did the same, I took it in the wrong way. She also gave up on trying to apologize. The next morning, once I had calmed down, I decided to re-read the entire conversation to evaluate where it all went south. I do that often when I begin to doubt if I was in the wrong. (Read this article for tips on handling an argument the right way).
Upon reading it 3-4 times, I realized I had majorly over-reacted due to being unable to understand the nature and tone of her words. I had myself said some things to her in the heat of the moment about being rude and insensitive, which hurt her. I decided to apologize to her and sent her a text apologizing and requesting to meet up. She agreed and I explained further how I had misunderstood what she had said and apologized again. It took a while but she eventually forgave me. (Another important, though unrelated lesson: never have important conversations over text!) So you see, it’s not always as simple as one person being right and the other person wrong. There are a lot of gray areas.
Consider another kind of situation. You get into an argument with someone. You’re getting more and more frustrated with the other person as the argument heats up. You know you’re in the right, and you feel that the other person should apologize for their words and actions. Now, know this. Just because you’re in the right, does not make the other person wrong. Consider the 6-9 perspective. Two people are standing on different sides of a figure drawn onto the ground. When asked what the figure is, one says it is the number 6, while the other says it is 9.
How would you settle this? From the direction that the first person sees it, it is a 6, and to the other person, it is a 9. This “direction” here represents different people from different walks of life, who have different viewpoints and perspectives, who have gone through various things and have beliefs based on their experiences. Now would it be right to tell the first person that the figure is a 9? No. Would it be right to tell the second person that the figure is a 6? Again, no. I repeat: just because you’re right, does not mean the other person is wrong.
People’s experiences in life form the basis for their beliefs, and what they consider right or wrong. So the next time you disagree with someone, stop to think that may have a very rational explanation for the way that they are acting or the things that they are saying. They might have gone through something and may have different experiences than yours, which makes their sense of right and wrong different from yours. You may be right, but you are unaware of what makes them believe whether something is right or wrong. This is a very important lesson in life, because words once uttered cannot be taken back. Our words have a very special power. They can hurt as well as heal.
You never know what the other person is going through. Our pointing out something we don’t like about them in anger might leave permanent scars on them. And what do we gain by making someone feel bad about themselves anyway? We should always choose our words wisely. If possible, try and make people feel good about themselves. If we can’t or aren’t in that state of mind, it’s best to refrain from saying anything at all. We should try controlling ourselves from letting our emotions get the best of us and saying something we’ll regret later. You can always just tell the person that you’re upset right now, and would prefer to talk about the issue at hand later.
And whenever possible, we should try and say something nice about someone. How do you feel when a stranger compliments you? It increases your sense of self and makes you feel good about yourself. The next time you make eye-contact with someone, smile at them. Tell an old lady she’s beautiful. Make someone smile.
By Prisha Budhiraja
Class 10 Student, New Delhi